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Sam Bromley, Co-founder and Managing Director, Whitecap Scientific Corporation
In 2011, with absolutely no formal business experience whatsoever, I co-founded Whitecap Scientific Corporation, with the idea that recent advances in computational power and computer vision research could transform underwater operations in the offshore Oil & Gas and Energy markets. By foregoing salary, and through founder-provided seed funding, several technological concepts were evaluated, and, in November 2011, we became clients of the Genesis Centre. With key support from BTCRD (then IBRD) and RDC, we began technology development on what today is a working prototype ready for trials with our initial customers.
Along the way, I came to recognize that the business development side of running a business was equal if not more important than anything on the technological side. Of course, as a "tech-guy", I tuned to books. I dove into business books of all kinds, reading over half of the Top 100 Business Books, learning just enough to not only be dangerous, but to recognize that I have now reached a point where further learning could best be advanced through Doing. I work hard to keep my team focused, to best lever their technological strengths, while I manage things, from the day-to-day nuances of running a business, to the longer term strategy, vision, and relationship building.
I remain very much a student to the business life, and I have seen and continue to deal with the compromises, hardships, stresses, and emotional ups and downs of building and growing a technology business. In today's hyped environment of Facebooks and What'sApps, the challenges, time-frames, and proper scale of building and funding a business conducting true Research and Development are often under-appreciated or dismissed. The difficulty in seeking and optimizing government R&D support, in balancing secrecy with learning from potential customers, in outrunning competitors who have greater resources, all while guiding innovative technological research, has certainly helped me grow as both a technology leader and as a businessman.
While I also serve as Treasurer on the Board of OceansAdvance, I certainly do not have the business experience of many others on the NATI Board of Directors. However, I am in the trenches, I have gone through most of the early-stage trials and tribulations, and we are now taking the next steps from a position of strength and momentum. If there is room for this point of view, and for someone who can think strategically, logically, and optimistically in both the near term and the long-range, I would be honoured to continue to assist our business community as a member of the NATI Board.